Adoption

How do I really feel about adoption?

Other than exploring alternative feelings in therapy, I would always say I am very positive about adoption.   I do not truly understand the stigma people feel related to adoption.

I was adopted the day after I was born, because my mother desperately wanted a child. She told me that she wouldn’t have stayed married to my father had they not gotten the call for me so many years ago.  Her family was thrilled for her because she was the beloved only-child in a large family of cousins.  I never felt anything less than wanted growing up, and never, to this day, question who my parents are.  I even get a bit annoyed when people call them my  “adoptive parents.”   There is no need to label my parents other than parents, they raised me, loved me, cared for me and provided for me my entire life. My birthparents need a distinguishing label because they created me, but did not nurture or parent me.   I literally gag when people refer to my birthparents as “your real parents.’  My real parents are the ones who raised me, no one else is more real to me than my parents.

I do get angry when people feel the need to distinguish the people who raised me with any moniker other than parent.

The back story of my adoption is very interesting, but much too long to share (literally deserves a book) so I will provide and edited version:  Hank and Judy met in High School and were from different sides of the tracks, so to speak.  Hank came from a wealthy and social family and Judy from a less-affluent family.   Hank went off to college and during his first  Christmas break, had sex with Judy.  She got pregnant.  I never asked him if they were having regular sex or not – I will have to ask him more details.  It never really crossed my mind.

Just recently, I came across a family photo on Facebook of Judy around April 1967 – which means she was pregnant with me!  The caption under reads “Family photo for Mothers Day 1967” a little bit of irony there, eh?  The family was embarrassed she was pregnant out of wedlock and sent her away to live with an Aunt until she had the baby.  She doesn’t recall much of my birth, because women were fully sedated in 1967, and won’t speak to me about the pregnancy.  I don’t know how depressed she was, or if it was a healthy pregnancy.  I know from our first conversation that I was a full secret to her family, and her parents did not want her to acknowledge me when I finally found her in 1996.  I know she has real issues acknowledging me in general, but every once in a while her curiosity gets the better of her and she will reach out to me with a note on Facebook (though she will not friend me).

When I first found her, I was angry that she wouldn’t acknowledge me.  I was trying to get pregnant and wanted my medical history.  Because of this, I then pursued my birthfather.  Finding Hank was en entirely different story.

Hank and his wife, Debbie, immediately welcomed me into their hearts and home.  Hank and Debbie also had my beloved sister, whom I believe is the real reason all this fell into place at all.  My little sister, Kiki, and I have developed a wonderful relationship over the years and I adore her.  She just got engaged and I will be her maid-of-honor, even though I am 20 years older!  Finding Hank’s family showed me how nature is just as important as nurture.  Anyone who knows me and knows Hank would agree.  I am his child through and through.  I keep close contact with this family to this day, and my children call him Poppa Hank.

Once I found my birthparents the years have provided a more complete idea of my genetics, and maybe there was something in me that was silenced.  Perhaps the intense curiosity of knowing who I was?  Of why I did the things I did, or thought the way I thought?  I don’t recall how I felt at the time I found them except satisfied.  I was unlike my parents in most ways and everyone would always say “where did you come from!” because my mother was so gentle and I was not.  I was a busy, hyperactive, curious child – that was too much of a handful for my parents.  Looking back, I realize my mother carried the full burden of parenting, my father rarely participated in parenting unless it was to hit me for discipline.  In any case, I don’t think I ever felt resentment towards my birthparents for giving me up for adoption because my life was really good.  If my birthparents had kept me, I would have been a child of a single, unhappy mother.  God chose a better path for me placing me into my mothers loving arms.

That’s pretty much my adoption story.  In therapy we are exploring a few topics related to adoption.   The idea that I wasn’t wanted/loved in utero (this one bothers me quite a deal) and the idea that I was abandoned by my birth parents.  Honestly, I prefer to exclude these ideas in favor of the way I was actually parented, and how that affected my behaviors.  While I still struggle with acknowledging anything about my parents parenting style (because my mother is not alive and my father is 82 – whats the point) I do see value in understanding and exploring my inner child and the lengths she went to in order to be seen, heard and loved – and how my needs as a child were not met with my parents parenting style and how that developed into bad coping mechanisms for me.

I am in the process of reading a book on how to re-parent your inner child, and I can’t say I love it.   While I believe in the theory, the exercises feel just plain stupid to me.  Drawing with your left hand (or non dominant hand) your inner child has more of an ability to speak to you.  I can’t draw a straight line with my dominant hand so this exercise feels simply ridiculous to me.  I have tried a few times now and I give up – this type of creative therapy doesn’t resonate for me.  I will have to speak to the therapist today about that as she feels its significant that I can’t do the art therapy.

In my next few posts I plan to explore what I have rediscovered about my childhood.  The memories I prefer to suppress in favor of the really good, positive and nurturing memories.  I don’t know how much posting I will get to this week as I actually have to go back into the city a couple days…which is already causing me great anxiety.

 

Inner Child

Hello Madeline, meet Trixie.

Oh, you know each other already?

Hmmmm….

So work with my therapist has begun on my inner child. Basically, learning how to like and accept that young wounded girl and then learning how to re-parent her.

Truthfully, I don’t know how I feel about this work. I don’t like going back to revisit difficult things and I am a champion at forgetting bad things – also known as my stellar behavior to crucify myself on a daily basis.

A friend said to me: what you have been doing and how you have been doing it isn’t working, why not try another way? Open your mind and listen.

Because this is my nearest and dearest friend whom I trust the most, I agreed to try something different. This also includes a therapist who is also non-secular. I promised, while begging for life in Mexico, that I would try and turn to God. More on this piece to come at a later time.

This post is simply to introduce the idea of my inner child and how she will help me learn why my behaviors, especially my bad behaviors, have become my ultimate coping mechanism.

We spent a little time talking about my childhood and my parents. If you asked me, I would say I had a very good, and happy, childhood. That’s only partly true. I was a very dissatisfied child, worse so when my younger brother came on the scene almost 6 years later. I actually no longer dwelt on the cards I was dealt as a child, I thought – and still think, to some degree – going back to explore these issues doesn’t hold and value on how I choose to live today. I am aware of the things I was uncomfortable with in childhood, but prefer not to dwell. Further, I’ve been taught that it just sounds like privilege complaining. People had it way worse than me in their lives, my parents tried their best, my mother is no longer alive, and my father is nearly 82. What’s the point of reliving painful memories that can stir up old feelings of anger and sadness (amongst many other feelings) when I have moved past all of that?

Or, have I?

I am willing to explore it and think about it. Try to learn what I don’t love about myself that I allow so many others to determine my self-worth. And then learn how to love and accept all of me, so that I may share myself fully with others.

I will start with my adoption. I may have told the story in a past blog somewhere, but I’m going to write again. I will walk through some childhood memories and try to think about why my inner child is so unhappy and feels so unwanted. I think I have many answers already but I want to do the work in writing.

I feel a need to apologize to my mother in heaven before I start this work:

Momma, I love you more than anything and I’m sorry I was never the daughter you needed, but I loved you fully and know you would be so proud of the woman I’ve become. I know you won’t like this….I need to explore what’s making me so unhappy in my womanhood that must be stemming from my childhood. I no longer blame anyone, it’s only a process of realization. I know you didn’t like so many things I’ve done in my life that must have felt like direct attacks on your parenting, but you always, ultimately, supported me in the end. We were always uncomfortable together, you and I. It was never a fully harmonious relationship. We always questioned one another. I wish I understood you sooner so you could have felt more love from me than you did, but believe me, it was always there. You have, and always will be, my first love and number one. Please support this hard work I have to do. I don’t want to remember things that hurt because you are not here with me anymore and I feel it’s unfair, but I believe it can help. Please continue to stay by my side throughout. I love you.

Clean-ish Bill of Health

4 surgeries and 3 months of brainless-ness later, here I sit pondering the meaning of my life.

Since I don’t have any insight or answers, lets talk about my health.

I really liked my US surgeon, he is a good man and a great surgeon and always spoke to me with kindness, empathy and in a way I could understand what was happening with my body and why he was making the decisions he made.  He also saved my life, so there’s that.  Oh, did I mention he’s also super cute like in a Hospital Drama kind of way?

My last weight recorded in the US was 218 pounds.  I am 5’8″  That’s not my heaviest weight, but it was my weight as of April of this year (Fuck you April, just sayin’).  Todays weight was 167 with clothes on.  Almost exactly 3 months post VSG (Vertical sleeve gastrectomy) and he was super happy with the sleeve itself and my progress.  That’s 51 pounds gone forever.   Honestly, I was worried I didn’t lose any weight this month and he said that’s fine considering the wound, but I need to continue to work towards my goal weight.

How does it feel to be (sort-of) instantly thin – pretty fucking amazing if you ask me.  Would I do it again?  The surgery?  Maybe, but here in the US.  Maybe the same thing would have happened, even here.  No one knows.  I was a risky candidate to begin with.  I don’t know what choices I would make if I wasn’t in such a dark place.  But, since I did do VSG in Mexico, and I did lose 51 pounds, I DO feel pretty amazing!

That is, until I get undressed.  It’s really unattractive and I am going to have serious issues with getting undressed.  At the moment, I would pretty much eliminate any casual sex – I couldn’t manage my own anxiety about what they think.

So, that puts the weight loss in a very strange place.  I cleaned my closet and attic and have enough clothes to get through the winter.  I still had my “goal” clothes from my weight loss challenge with Bobby – clothes I never fit into as I don’t think I ever dropped under 180-185 pounds.  And they would have been a bit tight then, even.  I feel good in clothes, I look great.

Luckily, I don’t have the hair loss that many experience and my hair looks gorgeous as it’s longer than ever.

My boobs fell,  but due to a breast reduction when I was about 24, they still face forward! They fit back into my smaller bras, but I can see losing more weight from them unfortunately.  My band is back to a solid 36 from a 40.  I was a 36-26-38 at my lowest weight now 120 pounds at age 24-30.

My ass is gone and flat!  Yikes! Less worried about the ass and legs as they will be the first to come back IF I exercise.  At the moment the skin literally hangs around the bones and it looks old and yucky.  I need to fix that.

My underarms are officially chicken wings.  I downloaded some exercises for them.  I have more creases at the upper arm/armpit due to loose skin.

My son mentioned my neck looks older and he’s right.  I lost quite a bit in my neck and have to get my everyday necklace shortened as it now hangs too low.  Speaking of jewelry, all my rings are now loose and swim on my fingers.

And…..I did email Peloton to restart my subscription today….so that counts as a CHECK!

Weight loss after trauma is just weird.  It’s like I woke up and it was gone.  A lot of that has to do with all the surgeries post the VSG – so I almost forget about the VSG as it was simple compared to what followed and the trauma I endured.

I also can’t decide if I am going to tell or not?  I have told many people, but not all people.  Would I have told if I just lost weight and no trauma?  I don’t know.  People are so judgey.  There is NOTHING easy about weight-loss surgery.  It’s not an easy way out of anything.

I joked with the surgeon today about how I traded one beauty for another.  I look good when I’m dressed up, but underneath the wrappings, nothing is what it seems.  I asked him how many lives he’s saved where people come in worried about their vanity months later and he realized I was making fun of myself.  I suppose I need to be in good humor considering I had a death wish.

I sit and wonder how a man like Tony would view my scars….and how my future men will view them.  Its going to be very, very difficult to embrace certain positions, that’s for sure.

I’ve got a clean bill of health from the surgeon, excluding the possibility of a hernia in the next year.  I will take it.

Therapy is another story entirely.

I’m still working on the therapy part and I do my homework, sometimes.  I liked the relationship book she directed me to and I feel I have completed as much of the work in there as I can up til today.  Next is embracing my inner childs voice.  I do worry about continuing therapy in the New Year.  I will have to start a $6000/year deductible again with no job.  I will have to decrease the frequency of the visits if I continue to not work, and that worries me a bit.  I also need to get my kids in to her over Christmas Break.

My body is ready to get back to the work of living, now I just have to convince my mind.

Intuition

We have spoken about intuition so many times on our blogs. Women have especially keen intuition when they learn how to listen to it. Mine has certainly taught me much over the years.

We also know I actively ignore it.

It wasn’t intuition telling me not to date Tony, that was simple, straightforward facts I ignored. The intuition came into play during our relationship when I heard what I wanted to hear and didn’t allow my intuition to pick up on mild cues.

For instance, he was always actively worried about being caught post April 2017 when he spoke to his wife. That hadn’t happened in the first year. Then there were so many other cues I just didn’t pick up on as he grew tired with his situation and deceit. It was too hard on him to continue his lie and maintain the facade of “great guy all around.” That title really meant something to him. He spoke many times about his father would be disappointed in the way he handled his marital problems. Tony needed to be “the good guy” as he perceived his Dad. He needs the intact family and perception. There is value in that for him.  I feel more disappointed for him that he will always be “somewhat” happy.

The reason I am rehashing is because I wonder where my intuitive voice is now regarding Tony. It’s silent. Maybe it still believes he could be the one for me. But my brain and heart have stopped allowing it. We have accepted defeat and acknowledged its over. But I do wonder why intuition is silent on that front.  I know I am going to hear from him again.  I also know I don’t have to.  I can’t read any signs of why I still harbor any hope of any kind of relationship.

My intuition with Rob was right from the start. He likes me but he’s just not that into me. He’s not ready for me. That’s going to be ok. His communication style is so far off my own and I don’t like working that hard. I waited until today to send a text “Hey, Stranger” and got back a little bit “busy, busy, work, life etc” but otherwise, nothing meaningful.    I also get the feeling he wants me to have more on my mind….he has referred to me getting back to work more than once!

I’ve met another man online and his communication started up well immediately. Easy back and forth questions. When someone is really interested they always ask about your kids and your friends. We will see how this proceeds.  Some people are just easier to talk with I suppose.

My intuition is telling me to go slow now. I’m ok with that too.

But she’s very quiet on the job front. I have a very deep feeling things are going to net out for me because I will eventually work towards making it right again, I just can’t seem to get there yet.  I do have to force myself to focus on something (even one thing) job related every single day for the weeks leading up to January.

My intuition on my kids….well the good news is the middle child and I work well at home together. But he also falters the most when I’m not here being Mom. It makes me sad to think this child needed a mother at home more than the others and I didn’t provide that. It really hurts. I do try to do more for them that costs me nothing: breakfasts, dinners, special little treats. Mostly food. They are teenage boys.

I don’t have an excuse.  I went to the surgeon today and they cauterised my wound closed and I can go without bandages if I am comfortable.  I will always have a small pool (dip) in my belly and my bellybutton is always going to be off to the side of the scar.  They can slightly improve the appearance next year with plastics, but the damage will always remain extensive.  The good news is that (one) I am alive and (two) my surgeon is very pleased with my progress weight wise.  He released me back into “normal” life today – shower without bandages, exercise, eat well, work and play normal – don’t come see him for 6 months unless something (Like a hernia) comes up.  Ok, I was expecting all that.

Overall, I’m more determined to listen to my intuition and slow down. I also read this amazing letter written by Angela Ahrendts  written to her daughters and it includes advice about intuition.  I worked under her many years ago and wished I stayed closer – she is now and SVP of Apple.  I found this letter to be very inspiring and spot on.

Here’s her letter:

“Hopefully you won’t read anything in this letter that you haven’t already heard from me many times before. I’ve always tried to lead by example when we are together, so I will do the same in this letter by reminding you of a few thoughts that will help you navigate your incredible life journey ahead: Always be present, read the signs, stay in your lane and never back up more than you have to.

I have always tried to be present for you regardless of how old you were, where we were, or where I was. I wanted you to know that I am always there for you spiritually, emotionally and digitally. You never need feel isolated or alone. You know I am on 24/7 for advice, love, or just to share a funny filtered photo, bitmoji or laugh (even though I know I laugh inside). Being fully present, by listening, feeling, empathizing—always holding serious eye contact, and often the touch of a hand—builds trust. Trust builds confidence and confidence enables you to look forward, dream more and focus on others vs. yourself. Being present is the greatest gift you can give another person, and the greatest way to more closely connect with them. When you are present, you are living in the moment vs in your mind. You are seeing, hearing, and feeling another person, and together you are even more empowered to do great things. This is a gift that often comes more naturally to women.

I have also tried to share with you as many of life’s precious lessons and secrets as I can so that when I am not here, you have a solid foundation of learnings and values regardless of what potholes in life you may hit along the way. Stay open; always try to read the signs as you pass by them or they pass by you. I’ve often reminded you that there are no coincidences. Everything that happens in your life is for a reason or was predestined. Every book you receive, every new person you meet, everything you call lucky is a sign just waiting to be read. It is tough when you are young and so inward-focused, but once in a while you will look back, make the connection and then be more open to and curious about those signs in the future. You see, signs aren’t blatant or obvious. You have to be open and present to instinctively feel or intuitively see them. You’ve seen firsthand, and we have often discussed, the role signs have played in my life and the incredible things that have happened as a result of me listening and reacting to them. You are blessed as sensitive women to more naturally understand this.

You are fully aware of how blessed you are, the incredible gifts you were born with that your brother doesn’t have and the gifts he has that you don’t possess. You know how happy you feel when you are doing what you love and that comes so easily and naturally to you. So please, please, please connect to your passion, and then just stay in your lane. Great athletes, musicians, scientists, etc., all have an expertise that they focus on and perfect. Don’t let anyone persuade you to do anything that doesn’t feel natural or isn’t aligned with your values or God-given gifts. You know what excites you more than anyone else. The sooner you recognize your passions, and the more you focus, the happier you will be and the greater success you will achieve. Still, don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what your lane is yet. The path will illuminate itself so long as you stay present, open to the signs, and follow your passions. It’s all related.

Lastly, my loves, never back up more than you need to, and this means in life, not just when driving. Just as you are blind to what’s behind you while backing up a car, if you keep looking back in life and focusing too much on the past, you may find yourself running things over and over in your mind,often seeing or creating things that never existed in the first place. Even worse, living in reverse blinds you to what lies ahead: Your lifelong dreams waiting to be achieved, your destiny waiting to be fulfilled.”

How To Be Motivated

I know the theory is one step at a time as long as it’s forward, but I have never been so unmotivated in my life.

My wound will heal really soon – I see the surgeon this week and expect I can be released to exercise. Not that it matters, I should have been walking all this time and wasn’t. I did not lose any weight this month so the surgeon could have something to say about that. I will say my appetite has come back and I now find myself hungry and thirsty when I haven’t been for months. The nurse said that’s because my body had to focus on the wound first and until it healed other functions may slow. Not being hungry was a good thing!

I haven’t gotten a real period since August. I bled a bit in Mexico, which they say is very common after major surgery, but nothing since. I also had cramps the morning I went crazy over Tony’s FB so I am guessing I started ovulating again – and my hormones are always a contributing factor to my level of crazy. Maybe it’s also why I’m hungry, now that I think about it.

It was even hard to decorate the house this year, I have no desire. I like how it feels when it’s done, but it was super hard to get it done. I would have even defaulted to a fake Christmas tree this year but the boys had a solid “no!” Vote against me. I’m happy they did, it gave them skin in the game and they got it up and standing by themselves. Decorating it may be another story.

I keep writing lists for myself to get things done. Then some things (like taxes or medical bills) take so long they suck the life out of you and I won’t go back to it for days. The outplacement service requires attention each week and I’m not putting any effort into that either. I want to get my resume and LinkedIn cleaned up this month. I’m not focusing on big picture items here, but I’m struggling to get through the small stuff.

I have been restless at night since Tony came back on the scene in some way. I am not dwelling but clearly my subconscious is still doing its work in the night.

I have not heard from Rob since the weekend. I am a bit bummed. I have my Match and Bumble on but don’t have any real interest in that work either.

I have done very little Christmas shopping. My kids have truly acknowledged their age and our current financial situation, but I would hate to see an empty Christmas tree on Christmas. These kids are used to many gifts. I was raised that way and have done the same with them. I would rather be clever this year and get them excited with fewer special gifts but my mind isn’t working.

I haven’t showered in 3 days. I do brush my teeth and hair and change my bandages. I don’t even wash my face.

Everyone says “this is not the Madeline I know.” But what if she’s gone – like forever? What if all that happiness, ambition, drive and determination never comes back? What if I’ve lost my defining characteristics?

What if I don’t care anymore?

I am not as sick as I was in the summer, but I don’t know how to get my life restarted. There’s a part of my brain yelling at me to stop wasting this precious time.

When that voice starts I will do something special for the boys. I made 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies and 3 banana breads today. I will probably make them meatloaf for dinner (they love and I hate! Lol). I will try and get in the back garden and prune my plants – better late than never. I know it’s something but it’s not enough. It’s not a life.

I need to get my life going again.

The Conversation with Tony

Post Tony deleting me on Facebook, we communicated a little by text.  He put me back on Facebook when he realized he upset me.  Then he text me again, the next morning.

I engaged after I spoke to my therapist.

There was nothing that was going to change my mind to speak to him.  It had been months – at least since June or July – we had been on the phone.  I’m pretty certain the last conversation would have been in anger.

I have no desire to recap the conversation but I told him about Mexico.  I cried a little when I told him what brought me to Mexico.  He thinks he could have stopped me.  That’s a big fat, no – because he wasn’t leaving his wife – so he’s giving himself too much credit.

I wanted to ask so many things  I wanted to talk about so many things. I wanted validation.  I wanted to apologize for my bad behavior – not so much because he deserves an apology from me as much as I needed to forgive myself for the way I behaved.

For acting crazy and addicted.  .

I got just enough validation that he did believe for a while, enough validation to escape with my sanity intact and be able to delete him again and move forward without falling into the Tony hole again.

I left feeling sad and I said I missed him.  He quickly said we cannot go back to communicating.  I agree with him.

Hanging up the phone without an “I love you” at the end was actually horrible and made me cry.  But, I am ok.  It took a little time to marinate and process, but I am ok.  I didn’t dwell very long.

I deleted photos I had lingering on the phone and came across the last piece of the puzzle I needed.  Validation in the form of the first time he acknowledged he wanted to be with me and what it wold cost him. I didn’t include the whole text string as it’s just for me, but here’s a piece.

That’s it, the last of Tony for a long while.

He will forever be my emotional bar – and he set it so high.  Just like Bobby set the sexual bar so high.

I am going to need to learnt to pole vault I suppose.

Stronger than Yesterday

I received his text before my appointed time with the Therapist.

I didn’t open it until after my conversation with her.

I think I baffle my therapist the same way I baffle anyone who knows me. How does this smart, competent, attractive woman lose her mind in an instant?

But that really was what happened.

Some important things happened in a days time span:

Immediately after my cray: One friend talked me off a cliff, one got mad and refused to talk to me about it and my sister just remained baffled and wanted better for me. This was the first time I realized I was pulling my friends into a hole with me because of my inability to control Trixie. Maybe I knew before but I wasn’t paying attention – but yesterday – knowing these were the same women who worried over my life in Mexico – I couldn’t let that happen. They have been too good to me and for me.

The next morning: The therapist listened and I am pretty sure she never said “do not respond” the way everyone else had. She only suggested “put some time between it.” I had already made up my mind that I was going to ask him why he did that after all this time. But she did say several things that made me pause and think. I cannot jeopardize my friendships and I must learn to control my tantrums. And mostly, I have to start forgiving myself and just move forward. Is it earth shattering? No. I’m just listening and actively participating. Some of your comments were good for me – why do I snap the moment I am rejected by a man? Most importantly, I needed her to hear my mania closest to the time it happened. Once a week I can be pretty good at looking alive and well. She needed to have a dose of Trixie because she hides and bites.

After the conversation with my therapist, I told Tony the truth (via text), why I reached out and then why I went cray. Then I apologized. His answer was that I had “liked” a post and he saw his wife scrolling through every like and he panicked. He apologized and said he didn’t even think I would care after all this time. He said he would “re-friend” me if I wanted. Does it matter? It shouldn’t but it was enough for me. I cried a bit because I knew there would be no more, but I didn’t have to press him for questions and answers on anything else. I felt the need for validation and I wanted it so desperately and I didn’t ask for it.

I was happy I cried. Sometimes I think my new meds are too strong. But the tears were ok. If my friend had not come over I probably would have mourned all day, but she did so I didn’t. Then 6’4″ asked me to coffee for Friday morning. So the day moved with less dwelling than any past contact with Tony.

Steps. Steps ahead. They aren’t great. And I am still angry he made the choices he did. My cousin pointed out that anyone who has to check their husband on social media isn’t living the best life. I admit to taking a little satisfaction in that. I feel less of a need to tell his wife, but I can’t say that’s entirely gone. I’m sure it will go away in time.

The result is that I have to call for help when I slip. I was DETERMINED to find his number. It was a psychological need that felt physical to me in the moment. And I knew it was wrong and ignored the sane part of my brain going: you really forgot his number! Good for you! Had I listened to that cheerleader in my head, I would have dealt with the emotion any way I wanted EXCEPT contacting him. I could have cried and screamed and thrown things and a thousand other ways to express my anger. I would have still given my inner child a voice, allowed a controlled tantrum in a safe place, and moved on. Why do I need the person who upsets me to hear me? He couldn’t help me.

So, fork in the road, almost 15 weeks of no contact and I screwed up. I wanted more from him but I finally “feel” that I won’t get more so I feel a bit more confident about letting go. I know that all sounds crazy, but that’s how I feel. I have to focus on how I get what I need from men in my life. Men who are available. And learn how not to take this crap forward with me into any relationship.

In the summer/fall 2016 I thought I had it all. I never felt “put on a pedestal” in my life…but I got to live and love up in the clouds for about a year before my world began crumbling. The fall from those heights nearly killed me. Losing my job in the fashion I did, and having a boss dismantle my credibility was painful. Today was the first time that I realized that as much as Tony hurt me, the damage from the job is probably worse. I was never great in relationship (or at least my track record from marriage didn’t give me a good foundation might be a better way to say it) but I was amazing in my roles at work and always rewarded well. As I talked through the Tony situation today, it dawned on me that I’ve been allowing myself to dwell on something I can’t repair instead of something I can – causing me to feel hopeless.

I can’t go back to my downward spiral after April. I can’t go back to the black hole I put myself in because I am barely, just barely out of it now. The meds are strong and are probably doing the heavy lifting but now I need to use that for my benefit. The fact that I felt less driven regarding Tony today is a step forward. The fact that I realized I can focus on something I can (at least possibly) attain is a step forward. I’m still traumatized but yesterday and today were good learning days.

And tomorrow I see a handsome man for coffee and have a hair appt in the afternoon. So that’s not so bad either.

The First Downslide

It wouldn’t be a Madeline story without a serious dash of crazy seasoning. But I promised honesty.

I saw Tony last in April. I don’t recall if we spoke on phone subsequently or not, probably. But the last text was mid-August. Full stop. My last text said:

“I am having surgery on Sept 7th that I don’t expect to recover from and since you have decided to be such a jerk and I won’t recover you can expect my letter to you and your wife then.” I was furious at him for being a douche when I was dropping my son at college after I supported him through dropping off two kids to college. He could have been kinder. I should have been less crazy, but that sets the scene.

And I blocked him for a while until I went to Mexico, hoping I would hear from him because he knew the surgery date and my birthday were around the corner.

Needless to say, while fighting for my life, I finally stopped focusing on Tony.

Until I started to feel better and talk about it in therapy.

As my body healed and the new meds kicked in, the desperate addiction I felt towards him increased. I knew myself well enough to know trouble was brewing.

But I did all the right things. I called friends. I diverted myself. I even went on a couple great dates (those stories will follow and were therapy approved dates). I finally felt happiness, real and true, outside my home with my family the day after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving day and the subsequent party took all the life out of me. I slept for 2 days following. My cousins hire professional photographers and post literally hundreds of party photos.

To step back to provide context: my x never enjoyed these family parties. He didn’t want to play football with the cousins (boys and girls) he didn’t like to socialize and every year became a struggle. I love this family and would do anything to be included and they always were inclusive to The x and my boys. But towards the end of marriage I gave up on being included. I’m still surprised at all the times I said no and they asked again.

So when the guy I met asked me to a strange second date I quickly said “I will trade you for a football game!” The whole story will follow but, god bless his heart, he was so excited to be included.

My cousins are short – the girls are under 5′ and the boys under 5’8″. So I made a joke to my very serious boy cousins that I was bringing a 6’4″ athlete who could be QB (knowing full well I would never live it down). Everyone he met said “oh! Your Mads 6’4″!” And that’s all they called him all day. 6’4″. He loved it.

He was the star of the game so my cousins loved him. He’s gregarious and wonderful so it was super easy.

I was really happy that day.

So what happened to being out Trixie?

I admit I check often if Tony and I are friends in FB. It was the only social media we remained connected on. He shut it down for months but opened it last week sometime.

My social media stopped when I went in the hospital. But now I had a reason to open it because the photos from the party were fabulous. My cousin tagged me in all of them and they post to my wall.

There is a beautiful photo of 6’4″ and I together. We look like a couple. There’s photos like that with my cousins too, but I know they are my cousins. My cousin also tagged all of 6’4″s football hilights with my name. And they made comments under the photos about 6’4″ doing me proud on the field.

Today I saw Tony had unfriended me on FB. I went into shock. I couldn’t think and my reaction was to reach out. But he has been deleted from my phone for so long I truly could not recall his phone number. So I sent a text to his two emails and they didn’t come back with “delivered”. I scoured the internet with phone combinations for 40 mins until I hit it. I really couldn’t recall it. I called from my phone and it went straight to VM. I called from the house phone and it went straight to VM. I was blocked.

I called where I thought he was working and got as far as reception and hung up and called my friends and admitted my cray.

An hour later he replied that he was flying home, couldn’t text or talk now, and I was never blocked. I apologized and said I overreacted and he asked what prompted it. I didn’t answer.

Will he text me tmrw? I don’t know.

I made it through 7 months of not seeing him and 3 full months or more of no contact and I lost my shit the instant I felt rejection.

My friends say it’s because I have the photos with the guy up and he doesn’t want to see things like that. I interpret that as he doesn’t want me happy. I get confused. Why now? What’s the big deal of FB friends when we don’t communicate any longer?

But it hurt and flipped the Trixie switch.

My call with my therapist is at 10am tmrw. But what can she say that I don’t already know? Why do I keep doing this to myself with a man who clearly doesn’t want me. Or any connection with me.

I have to get to the bottom why rejection causes Trixie to trigger. And I want it to stop. I want to stop thinking about him and wanting him. I can believe he gave me the world and it was lovely but I have to also believe it’s gone for good.

I am angry and embarrassed at myself. And worried about him reaching out to me soon.

I was doing well. But my little child, Trixie, stomped her feet and wanted to know WHY now….why take me off FB now. It was a small and innocuous connection. But it was something to me. And now I’m hurt all over again.

Coming Back to Life?

I find it strange how often I still think about writing on the blog, when I haven’t really committed to writing in almost a full year.  I felt the need to write when I divorced, it felt important to me.  Once I met Tony (Bennett), my psyche was clever enough to stop me from writing the truth.  I knew if I wrote I would have to hold myself accountable.  And, I knew I didn’t want to be accountable.

That doesn’t mean what I wrote during the 2 years with Tony wasn’t true, that’s not my style.  My skill is in being able to be honest out loud and literally ignoring my own best judgment.  You have all watched me do it for 4 years now.

I’m in therapy and my therapist condones writing on the blog, so I am going to give it another shot.  At the moment, I do nothing, I feel nothing.   I am going to be able to write a lot that literally causes no emotional reaction, when it should.  I am entirely disconnected.

While the ups and downs of Tony were obvious throughout the entire 2 years, the worst really hit in April 2018 when I finally said “enough is enough.”  At the exact same time, my job imploded and I was told I wasn’t “good enough” and I should look for another role.  Add in three teenage boys, one loaded with drama going away to college and you have a recipe for a mid-life crisis.   Or a nervous break down.  Call it what you will, I was broken starting April 2018.

I thought I lived through bad times and believed I was resilient, but truly nothing compares to my ability in the Summer of 2018 to play at life while hiding my biggest secret: I didn’t care if I lived or died, but I couldn’t commit suicide.  So, I chose a passive path: gastric surgery in Mexico.  This way – if I died, I died.  If I lived, I finally had a chance to be thin.

I knew deep down my decision was wrong.  I came to the blog to write and called it a “reset” and those few that I did tell, I convinced them it was for the same reason.   It never was.  I had a death wish.  I lied to everyone about how I felt, everyone except Tony.

During the summer, I told Tony my mind was collapsing.  At the same time, I was angry and cruel to him, pushing him as far away from me as I could with all my threats of telling his wife.  I told him I was going through the breakdown, but I didn’t tell him about the type of surgery.   I was asking the wrong person for help in the worst way possible.  Any good that was in our relationship (for him, because I don’t feel it) is ruined by my behavior between May-August.

I made the decision to go to Mexico by late July.  I dropped my son at college around August 17, and stopped speaking to Tony around the same time (I hadn’t seen him since April).  My job ended on September 4th and I was on the plane to Mexico September 6th.

Arriving in Mexico made me feel nothing.  I spoke to no one.  I had no desire to compare stories, I didn’t care.  I wanted the surgery over and done with.  I had no feeling it would end one way or the other, nothing crossed my mind.

I’m not going to talk about my surgeries, because I don’t want to.  I had to write a recap for a lawyer and I could barely recall what happened when.  But the high level recap is the Gastric Sleeve seemed to go fine, except I have so much scar tissue that they nicked my intestines.  They did a second surgery trying to fix it and made it worse.  Then a third surgery for a bowel resection.  All in Mexico, in a language I didn’t understand, in such complete pain and shock I couldn’t properly react, and in a place that wasn’t equipped for this type of surgery.  I was able to fly home September 19th and was back in the US hospital with infection and abscess 2 days later.  A 4th surgery in the US corrected the issues and I came home October 10th or so.

Make a fist on both hands.  Hold them together.  That’s how big my open wound on my tummy was, and just as deep.  That’s a whole lot of healing. 3 full months just for it to close.  We are 2 months in…and at least I can look at it now and change my own bandages.

That brings us to today.  Physically, I am healing.  The wound will close.  The sleeve works and I have adjusted to eating properly with the sleeve.

The emotional or mental healing is another story entirely.  Working through my x putting into my kids head that all of this is “my fault” – hell, working that fault through my own head – is not easy.  Working through my ability to move on from Tony.  Working through the drama of the teenage years.  Working through the job loss, the “not good enough” and the finances.  Working through what dating would look like and undressing in front of someone.   I was spinning too many plates.  I didn’t drop one, I dropped them all and banged into the mother fucking porcelain cabinet while I was at it.

So here I am on the floor, covered in broken glass, trying to figure out how to get back up.

Some motions are easy: go to the doctors, eat, drink, feed children. It literally stops there. My brain isn’t working.  They say I have PTSD.  I need time.  More time.  I’m still healing. One day at a time.  I will recover.  That’s what they say.

I take steps.  It looks like I am moving forward.  I look pretty good when I clean up.  But then I don’t shower for days and lie on the couch.  I sleep 10-12 hours every night, straight.  I don’t want to DO anything.  I stopped typing and came back to this post because I don’t really want to write.  It’s more doing I don’t want to do.

I don’t like the “have-to’s”

I have to get a job because I am a single mother who has 3 children.  2 in college.

I have to earn enough money.

I have to leave the house to get a job.

I have to speak to people to get a job interview.

I have to get dressed, do my hair and makeup.  I have to act.

I don’t want to.  I can do, I have done, but I don’t want to, period.

I was at a family party the day after Thanksgiving and had an amazing time, the photos show a beautiful,  happy woman.  My family and friends were so happy to see me.  I even opened up my social media and added photos for the first time since August.  I thought – let’s show everyone I can (and will) recover!  I was really trying to show myself – look! you can do it!

I did it.

Then I slept for 2 days straight.  My mind is right back in the black hole.

What scares me the most is I already know I am going to recover and heal, outwardly.  I will play the game again and be good at it again.   But will I really heal?  Can I do the real work required for self love and acceptance?  Do I want to do it?

I also want to say “Thank-you” to all that reached out with care and concern.  I didn’t place enough value on the strength I could gather from the love of strangers, but I now realize that I need to truly acknowledge  all forms of generosity and love – so thank you from the bottom of my heart.